Late rally for naught in loss to Rangers
Johjima homers to tie game in ninth; Morrow allows run in 10th
ARLINGTON -- Erik Bedard has been as sure a thing as there is in baseball over his last 19 starts. So given a five-run lead with Bedard on the mound, a Mariners' victory Monday night seemed like a lock.
But not this month.
On a wild night in Texas, Bedard didn't get the loss. He was long gone by the time his teammates sent the game to extra innings with four runs in top of the ninth. And he didn't throw the pitch that lost the game -- a fastball that ex-Mariner Ramon Vazquez drilled into the right-field stands to lift Texas to a 13-12 victory in 10 innings at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Bedard's teams (including the Orioles) had won 15 of the last 18 games he'd started, but he is now 0-3 in May and the Mariners are 2-10 for the month. He couldn't protect a five-run, first-inning lead and that made for a messy night for the Mariners, even with a little drama thrown in.
"It wasn't a good day," said Bedard of lasting two-plus innings, matching the shortest outing of his career.
The Mariners had a spirited comeback, scoring four runs in the top of the ninth. Catcher Kenji Johjima, who has struggled all season while batting .208, had a three-run home run with two outs off Rangers closer C.J. Wilson to tie the game at 12.
"For a guy who has been cold like this the last couple of weeks, to hit my first home run was very unnatural," Johjima said through an interpreter. "It was very crazy."
But Johjima's joy as he pumped his fist around first base was wiped out by Vazquez in the bottom of the 10th. Cheating on a fastball on a 1-0 count against the Mariners' hottest reliever, Brandon Morrow, Vazquez was able to lift the ball out of the park.
It was a strange moment, considering Morrow had dominated the previous four batters he faced, all of them striking out.
"He had electric stuff," Mariners manager John McLaren said. "He hit 98 [mph] a couple of times. But Vazquez got him. He got J.J. [Putz] a couple of times last year."
It was a rough night for Mariners pitchers. Six pitchers combined for 13 walks, the most by the Mariners since allowing 14 walks in July 2004.
Poor defense also contributed to the loss. With a chance to get out of the seventh tied at 6, second baseman Jose Lopez booted a ground ball that would have been an easy forceout at second base for the final out of the inning. Instead, with the bases loaded, German Duran scored from third base, and the Rangers added three more runs in the inning for a 10-6 lead.
"I just hurried a little bit," Lopez said.
The Mariners did stay after it, as right fielder Wladimir Balentien hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth to cut the lead to 10-8. And even after Mark Lowe and Arthur Rhodes walked in consecutive runs to return the Rangers' cushion to four runs, the Mariners came back with more offense.
"It was a big thing that we came back and never gave up," Bedard said.
It was a tale of two starts for Bedard, who faced the minimum 27 batters when he pitched here in Texas in July, probably the best game tossed by a road pitcher at Rangers Ballpark. He had 15 strikeouts that night.
Bedard wasn't near as effective Monday night. Staked to a 5-0 lead after the top of the first, he gave up single runs in the bottom of the first and second. He lost the lead in the bottom of the third.
Bedard gave up a leadoff home run to Josh Hamilton, a monster shot that traveled 447 feet and cleared the center-field seats. Milton Bradley followed that up with a home run, also to center field.
The Rangers tied the game at 5 when Chris Shelton, batting .125 entering the game, got his second straight hit. Duran's double-play ball gave Texas a 6-5 lead.
Bedard had allowed four home runs for the season before Hamilton and Bradley took him deep.
McLaren said Bedard wasn't right on this night. The manager said his left-hander had location and rhythm problems.
"He was slow and deliberate." McLaren said.
When asked about all of this, Bedard didn't add much insight.
"It was pretty much everything, I guess," he said.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.